All across Florida, hurricane preparations are underway. As I maneuvered around town today buying hurricane supplies, I was astounded by how many people had left their jobs to go shopping and make hurricane preparations. Some people either have lots of flexibility or very kind bosses. However, the crowds at Walmart could also indicate that some people took time off under the radar to stock up on water, batteries and other stuff. Either way, when it comes to preparing for a storm, flexibility is wanted, needed and appreciated. But not all employers are willing to give it.
Balancing work and personal needs is difficult even in ordinary times.
However, if you don’t receive any workplace flexibility, here are some ideas for balancing work and storm preparation:
- Use Amazon Prime to order supplies
- Visit SitterCity to find childcare for Thursday and Friday when schools are closed
- Reach out to neighbors and friends and share the supply shopping (You get gas for the generator, I get batteries for the flashlights)
- Ask your friends who are teachers and are off of school to take your child for the day. In exchange, you watch your friend’s children while she prepares her home for the storm.
- Visit the gas station at off hours — very early in the morning or very late at night.
- Use your lunch hour wisely.
- Have your children help with preparations. They can bring in outdoor furniture, fill up pitchers of water, clean up debris that could cause harm to your home.
- If you are in an evacuation zone, talk to your employer about when you plan to leave. Don’t just do it and then tell your boss.
Here are some other basic tips to put in place before the storm hits:
- Figure out how you will communicate with your employer after the storm.
- Create a group text to reach out and help employees who may need it.
- Ask about workplace policy. If schools remain closed or power is off, will you be expected to return to work?
- Devise a way to work from home if possible.
- If you choose to evacuate, communicate with your boss about when you will return.
Best of luck to all of Florida as Hurricane Irma approaches! If you haven’t made hurricane preparations yet, now is a good time to start. It’s getting pretty crazy out there!